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  1. "Das Fenster war zu."
  2. "Die Geschäfte haben zu."

In the above examples, which depict(s) the state of the object as closed, and which depict(s) the active closure of the object (e.g. by someone)? Thanks!

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"Sein" can always be used and describes the state, "machen" describes the action:

Die Geschäfte sind zu. = Die Geschäfte sind geschlossen.
Die Geschäfte machen zu. = Die Geschäfte schließen.

Mach das Fenster doch bitte zu!
Das Fenster ist aber schon zu.

"Haben" is restricted to shops, business etc., and describes the state:

Unser Geschäft hat morgen zu.

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Both mean the state, not the action.

  • 1
    @userunknown: I disagree. It’s tries to address the question; hence it is an answer. It certainly is not a comment since it does not seek to improve the question (or similar). You may argue that this answer lacks explanation or is wrong (and downvote as a result), but it clearly belongs in answer domain. – Wrzlprmft Apr 17 '17 at 13:54
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The difference lies in the nature of the object being closed.

"Zu haben" requires a premise that has opening hours:

Der Laden hat zu.
Die Schule hat zu.
Die Arztpraxis hat zu.

"Zu sein" is much more general and comes with no restrictions. Hence it can be used for both: premises with opening hours and any other object that can be opened:

Der Laden ist zu.
Das Fenster ist zu.
Die Dose ist zu.

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